Like Harambe getting twenty thousand votes in the presidential election.
And I'm so tired of dealing with all these crazy facts.
So it's time to do something about it. I'm calling it Google Search Challenge, and we're doing it every day until my students' reaction upon hearing x is, "Hmm. That doesn't sound right. Let me look that up."
Now, I'm not teaching them any freaking checklists or canned lessons about how to determine whether a website is credible. I've done those. And while they're not terrible, they also miss the point entirely.
To master something, you need LOTS of repetition.
So the Google Search Challenge is an 8 minute assignment that can be completed every day.
After the first round of their fact-checking adventure, I showed them MY best source (the Snopes article linked above the fold). By the next day, almost all of them went to Snopes first.
But the second most popular source the first time around? CNN.
Don't tell me that kids don't know how to fact check.
This may be something like teaching grammar and conventions - they don't use what they already know. They have a pretty good sense of what makes something credible. Just like they probably don't need a lesson in what a capital letter is for, they also don't need a ton of instruction about how to find credible information.
They've literally been doing it their entire lives.
It's easy to see how a failure to distinguish face from fiction is a hazard to having an informed voting base. And this election cycle has been worse than most in the amount of misinformation and half-truths - from both sides.
So I'm going to keep going with these challenges. Tomorrow, I'm giving them an image out of context. It'll be up to them to find information to determine whether it's real or photoshopped.
And when they finish, I'll teach them Reverse Image Search on Google Images.
If you don't know how to do that, go read this page now. Chances are, I'll have quite a few students know how to do it already (and if they use it tomorrow, I've got a special reward for them).
Why? Because the MTV show "Catfish" does it regularly and has for many seasons.
And they say kids don't learn anything from television.
Want to try this with your own class? Here's my slide deck of challenges so far. Feel free to adapt and add your own, and share them with me when you do!